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Stock Upgrades: Who Needs an iWatch When There's Fossil?


Wall Street ratings agencies set the tone for today's stock market.

An 18-day delay in the employment report sent investors back to the futures and helped equities hit another historic high. As we approach November, it is increasingly hard to Try to Remember September, and 148,000 jobs added last month was far from Fantastick. Yet the Goldilocks number was clearly good enough for many on Wall Street, who now bet the Fed will continue its quantitative easing. With the World Series starting tonight, it paid to play the Field of Dreams. "Is this Heaven? No, it's Iowa" was right on the money as Hawkeye State hero Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR) surged some 11.62% to top the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP:.INX). (Kiss me, Kate.) Elsewhere Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) eased off 0.29%, snapping a nine-session winning streak after its ho-hum product refresh at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, where the The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are currently the hottest ticket in town. Appropriate, as waiting for the Cupertino company's eternally-delayed iWatch and TV offerings are similarly testing the patience of Jobs. And with stocks staring at the stars, our recent debt ceiling crisis has clearly taken a toll on the Capitol Dome, about to undergo a $60 million repair job.

Hump Day of peak week for third quarter earnings is here, with AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), Boeing (NYSE:BA), Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV), GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK), and WellPoint (NYSE:WLP) among a multitude of companies releasing results.

Apollo Group (APOL): The University of Phoenix owner, surging some 16.52% as we speak, gets upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel.

AXA SA (OTCMKTS:AXAHY): The European financial firm is increased to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital.

BBCN Bancorp (NASDAQ:BBCN): BMO Capital raises the regional bank to Outperform from Market Perform.

Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED): UBS increases the electric utility to Neutral from Sell.

C.R. Bard (NYSE:BCR): Shares are now Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs.

DuPont (NYSE:DD): JPMorgan gives a post-earnings upgrade to the Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) member, now Overweight from Neutral. Its price objective, previously $60, increases to $67.

Finish Line (NASDAQ:FINL): The stock is boosted to Buy from Hold at Canaccord Genuity.

Fossil (NASDAQ:FOSL): Yesterday's Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) event came and went with still no iWatch, but this old-timey watchmaker apparently never gets old. Shares, already up an impressive 38.03% over the past 12 months, are today taken to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray.

Eaton Vance (NYSE:EV): EV is increased to Outperform from Underperform at Credit Suisse.

Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE:LYG): Keefe Bruyette lifts the British bank to Perform from Underperform.

Medtronic (NYSE:MDT): The medical device maker gets a Buy-from-Hold hoist at Deutsche Bank.

Morgans Hotel Group (NASDAQ:MHGC): Shares of the accommodation outfit are now Buy from Neutral at MKM Partners.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS): MS is moved to Outperform from Neutral at Mediobanca.

NuStar Energy (NYSE:NS): Morgan Stanley itself moves this stock to Equal-Weight from Underweight.

Papa John's International (NASDAQ:PZZA): The pizza maker gets boosted to Buy from Neutral at Janney

Peoples Bancorp (NASDAQ:PEBO): Raymond James juices the regional bank to Outperform from Perform.

Syngenta (NYSE:SYT): HSBC Securities hoists the stock to Overweight from Neutral.

(See also: New Stock Coverage: Mel Karmazin Worth $255.4 Million a Year? You Cannot Be Sirius and Stock Downgrades: ARM Gets Thumbs Down in Apple Fallout)
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